Israel's upgraded Arrow ballistic missile shield passed a full interception test today, hitting a target in space meant to simulate the trajectory of the long-range weapons held by Iran, Syria and Hezbollah, the Defense Ministry said.

The success was a boost for "Arrow 3", among Israeli missile defense systems that get extensive U.S. funding. Its first attempt at a full trial, held a year ago, was aborted due to what designers said was a faulty deployment of the target.

Arrow 3 interceptors are designed to fly beyond the earth's atmosphere, where their warheads detach to become 'kamikaze' satellites, or "kill vehicles," that track and slam into the targets. Such high-altitude shoot-downs are meant to safely destroy incoming nuclear, biological or chemical missiles.

The Arrow system is jointly developed by state-owned IAI and U.S. firm Boeing and U.S. officials were present for the test. The earlier Arrow 2 was deployed more than a decade ago and officials put its success rate in trials at around 90 percent.

The United States has its own system for intercepting ballistic missiles in space, Aegis, but a senior Israeli official played down any comparison with Arrow 3.

Israel's strategic outlook has shifted in recent months, given the international deal in July curbing Iran's nuclear program, the depletion of the Syrian army's arsenal in that country's civil war and Hezbollah's reinforcement of Damascus against the rebels.

Israel and Hamas fought a Gaza war in 2014 but the Palestinian enclave has been relatively quiet since.

Independent journalism costs money. Support Times of Malta for the price of a coffee.

Support Us